Smith, Richardson dropped for Perth ODIs


Australia's selectors have made a big change to their ODI side ahead of the first match against South Africa in Perth, dropping in-form all-rounder Steve Smith in order to accommodate Shane Watson's return.

Smith was one of Australia's best players in the recent tour to the UAE, and scored a century in the ODIs against Pakistan. He was forced to make way for veteran all-rounder Watson though, with skipper Michael Clarke labeling it a 'tough call'.

Clarke said of the omission, and of Kane Richardson also being removed: "A couple of tough selections there from the selectors, a couple of tough decisions.

"As we know, we've got to play our best. We're playing against a fantastic team and we have to be on top of our game to beat them.

"Hopefully we can start this really well tomorrow."

He added that the selectors were looking at the conditions in Perth, and would also be aiming to finalise the line-up for the World Cup Down Under in February.

The skipper said: "I think we've probably got this series to give guys an opportunity if the selectors are still not certain on their 15.

"I've voiced my opinion to (selectors) Rod (Marsh) and to Darren (Lehmann) in regards to – I'd love to see the squad selected for the tri-series after the Australian summer, I'd love to see that be our one-day World Cup squad of 15 players, so we can spend that time in preparation for the World Cup.

"I think the fact that we've only picked a team for two games here, and then the selectors will get together and pick another team for maybe two or three (games), I'm not really sure if they're still looking at couple of positions.

"It’s always tough because there’s so much cricket to play leading into the World Cup.

"They've picked what they feel is the best squad they feel to have success in Perth in these conditions, and I'm pretty sure they'll reassess for the next three games."

Other changes see Josh Hazlewood coming into the team to replace Richardson, while Matthew Wade will keep wicket as Brad Haddin is injured.

Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (captain), George Bailey, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Josh Hazlewood, Steve Smith (12th man)